Letter from the President
“Need to Know”
Secrets are those things which you know and you do not want a select group of others to know. Secrets can be personal, for example if you are a professional golfer, it might not help your marriage or career if your wife found out that you had a few dozen girl friends. Not a great way to endear endorsements either if this “secret” was no longer secret.
Personal secrets differ from corporate and Government secrets in a very substantial way. If you are a biomedical company and have a formula for a new medicine that substantially reduces a certain type of cancer, you do not want this corporate proprietary information to be revealed to the general public, or your competition, until you have deemed that the information is protected with patents filed, trademarks secured, and perhaps a corporate advantage in securing elements of the secret formula known only to a few of your key employees.
Government secrets whether our Government here in the United States, or our allies, can be, and often are, a matter of national security. We do not want information which has been deemed “classified” to be revealed. In the US we speak of confidential, secret and top secret where, progressively, the information is more valuable because the cost in terms of lives and dollars escalates depending on the nature of the secrets if the secret were known to third parties who are adversaries. All progressive countries have information they wish to protect. The method and process to classify and protect this valuable information has been well thought out. What is missing at the personal, corporate and Government levels with so many secrets is what to do with information, especially digital information, once the life cycle has expired of the valuable information.
This is where CD ROM, Inc. and our security products can help. When much of the thinking occurred to conceptualize the classification of information at the Government and corporate levels, the world was an analog world breaking its bonds from a war torn mid 20th century. Personal computers did not exist. Film was the medium of choice for images and instant communication was at best an undeveloped concept in the realm of science fiction. Today, the world is interconnected in ways not ever imagined. It is as if we all have ESP or its functional equivalent, and we can know the thoughts of others and communicate with others at the click of a digital button. But secrets exist and those of us who are charged with the technology to build systems to safe guard this information now have to educate the general public on the best practices to use whether it comes from a personal need, a corporate business need, or a Government need.
CD ROM, Inc. proposes that all decision makers pause to consider how they safeguard their valuable information once its life cycle is over. We suggest that you begin to find solutions to protect proprietary information from unauthorized release to third parties who do not need to know such information. We recommend that you apply a systematic and carefully thought out system of best safe practices from the analog birth of the information to the digital death of the data.